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How to get my long thin border to flow

I am gradually going round the garden redesigning it to get it back under control after a few years of neglect and getting it to my colour scheme. 

I have a 40m long border down the side of the garden, it starts off at 90cm wide getting to 1.28m wide at the far end where it opens up to a 2m deep part at the entrance to the woody area. 

Last year a large stretch of the flowerbed had a new fence put up, which previously had been falling over into our garden and covering the bed so this part is empty So this has a new fence, is v bare.  Here i have put in a buddleja, and weigela, a honeysuckle, and a rambling rose I moved from another part of the garden. 

The next section, is just full of forget me nots, crocosmia (which I'm taking out) a lovely ribes sanguineum, I think some foxgloves (due to free seeds my dad threw over it last year),  but pretty much empty, 

then down to a mahonia, (goodness that stuff grows everywhere) so that is rather large) then we have a redcurrant, and an asparagus fern and a lilac.

the next section is rammed with bluebells that then is empty once they have gone and then we have honeysuckle, wisteria and azalea. 

Sorry this is long, so basically it has sections I guess with completely different plants in and it doesn't feel like it flows. 

Could I have some advice with how to fill a border like this so there is a flowing element to it, and being such a narrow border should I do big blocks of individual plants, or smaller clumps of plants. and I'm thinking as it is so narrow it will be hard to do taller plants at the back and shorter at the front. 

Do any of you have borders like this you could put photo's up of. 

Here are some photo's. 






 Since this photo was taken I've had to cut back the honeysuckle, so starting again  with trying to grow it up the fence.

Just don't know what to do with it. image

Would appreciate any advice. thank you. 



  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Hello Peanut3, quite a challenge there. image

    It seems to me that you already have good structural plants in place. Perhaps look at each section with these plants and, if you want a flow (the eye to travel down the garden) repeated under planting of perennials. Spring/summer bulbs would give extra background colour and form then whatever you feel would lookl

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Oops! No idea what happened there - tablet protesting!

    Spring and summer bulbs would give extra background could and firm and then plant whatever you feel would add interest.

    Hope that helps and I'm sure others with more plant experience will join to offer good advice re what to put where.

    Look forward to seeing the resultsimage


  • SupernoodleSupernoodle Posts: 954

    Ok, so not really answering the direct question, but I'd put an arch very so often on it.  Then each segment could be like a little room with different plantings. But the arches draw the eye and thus give the flow. Hard to explain what I can see in my head!image But it looks lovely imageimage!!

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Oops again image spell check not checked, meant to say 'extra background colour and form'

    Nice idea supernoodle, that would give interest all year round.

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    thank you, I will have to look into some summer bulbs, the colour scheme is pink, purple and white.  Any recommendations ?

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Nerines  look good, pink, they do grow tall and as your border is narrow you may find they grow away from the fence (a mistake I made so had to stake them)

    Anenome, jewel colours, feathery leaves, always give me a good show, however you will have to plant them this year for next year (they follow the tulips). 

    Looking at your border, seeing the shaded area, you will  have to choose plants to suit those conditions which may differ from the sunnier part but the colours would be the same . 

    For this year  suggest  perennials of the chosen colours

    and 'repeat' the planting  down the length of the border giving the flow. I use a touch of white to lighten and draw the eye, also  achimilla mollis (lady's mantel) for a contrast acid green with purple, in moderation as it will seed everywhere.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358

    Long border - repeat planting - both structural and herbaceous. It's an old trick but it works. Decide on the type/height of plant/shrub, colour and time of year you want it to look best and then work from there. It's quite narrow on the whole so hundreds of different plants will tend to make it look fussy. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Quite right fairy girl, repeat planting has saved me many hours of work when they children were younger and later working years. image

  • Shady2Shady2 Posts: 16

    Hi I have a long deep border and I have kind of divided it into 'rooms' (natural pauses created by shrubs/trees) - different conditions to yours, but as an example, had an established choisya a at one end, so planted one at the other end too. Have tended To clump things together and then repeat some things throughout. So, have clumps of different ferns at various points and then repeating swathes of hellebores, anemones and Shasta daisies. its partly been dictated by what was there and what could be divided easily - it's too much border to be buying new! Also what will grow on clay in shade. And in case it isn't hard enough, we've gone for white only!  in spring there's various bulbs that come up to punctuate and lead the eye along. My designer friend helped me - it was all just too bitty before. Her main thing is to put like with like and then repeat at intervals And also she really limits the colour/types of plants but makes up for it in quantity - wAy more than I would ever buy (so lucky we could divide it all up!)

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    Good morning Peanuts3 and Shady2, I've added a few photos of my  shady border. Much shorter as you can see, only 18inches wide, and continuing to border the newly extended pond.






     Sorry about the first two, took the from 'photos' without cropping. From the small step to pond level I get sunshine and from across the pond (cropped) you can see the border continuing.

    I kept existing plants, ivy in shade - (added heuturas, ladies mantel), raspberry canes, geraniums, rosemary in large pot-already there. Pond side had the peony, two honeysuckle (cut back) various geraniums and the pot holds a clematis part hidded by the rugosa. Had towork round what was there

    So, thinking about it my border flow is green!

    I'd be interested to see how your borders are looking. Meanwhile I'll start cropping the photos!

    Enjoy the day image

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